Potential Consequences for Taiwanese Money Launderer Revealed through Gambling Trips

Posted on: November 1, 2023, 07:37h. 

Last updated on: November 1, 2023, 07:37h.

Police in Taiwan have apprehended an individual suspected of operating a large-scale money laundering operation in the country. This criminal enterprise was only brought to light due to the suspect’s frequent overseas gambling trips. Discover more about this multimillion-dollar scheme in our exclusive report.

A police officer in Taiwan on a motorcycle
A police officer in Taiwan on a motorcycle. Police have arrested a man who ran a multimillion-dollar money laundering scheme. (Image: Flickr)

According to local media outlet United Daily News, the Electronic Investigation Team (EIT) of Taiwan’s Criminal Bureau initiated an investigation into an individual identified only as “Qui” last year. This person is believed to be the mastermind behind the illicit movement of $320 million through the cryptocurrency stablecoin Tether (USDT).

While Qui portrayed himself as a simple merchant, he allegedly operated an expansive criminal network that spanned multiple Southeast Asian countries, including Malaysia, the Philippines, and Hong Kong.

Unveiling the Operation

The authorities’ breakthrough came when the EIT began delving into the activities of Taishin Securities, a Taiwanese financial products firm. Their suspicions were aroused upon discovering pirated software linked to the company.

Following the money trail, the investigators eventually zeroed in on Qui. Their scrutiny of his daily life uncovered a series of trips and activities that further heightened their suspicions.

Qui frequently traveled abroad, predominantly for rendezvous in both legal and illegal casinos. These trips brought him into contact with individuals who had already been flagged as potentially involved in criminal operations.

Qui designed an intricate plan to carry out his illegal activities. Numerous fictitious accounts served as conduits to divert the funds until they ultimately reached him. Through the process, the funds were transformed into cryptocurrencies, effectively obscuring their origins and facilitating subsequent financial transactions.

Since February of the previous year, authorities are confident in linking Qui to the movement of 320 million Tether through various cryptocurrency wallets under his control. As the value of Tether is pegged to the US dollar, each coin is estimated to be worth approximately $1, with slight fluctuations possible.

Qui charged a 1% commission on each money laundering transaction he handled. This implies his commission on the total USDT figure would amount to $3.2 million, although it’s possible he was responsible for even larger sums prior to his arrest.

Cracking Down

The prosecutor’s office swiftly took action as evidence mounted against Qui. They apprehended him on June 13 of this year when he returned to Taiwan via the Taoyuan Airport.

Throughout the course of the investigation, authorities seized Qui’s cell phone, which reportedly contained comprehensive records of his criminal activities. Additionally, they confiscated several high-value possessions, including a Lamborghini URUS SUV and a Lexus LM minivan.

The seized items extended to three Apple Watches, CNY210,000 (US$28,686) in cash, multiple computers, debit cards, and a variety of illicit substances.

This bust represents a landmark achievement for the Electronic Investigation Team’s crackdown on illicit funds. Moreover, it marks Taiwan’s largest money laundering scandal to date, according to local authorities.

Several other individuals associated with the organization were also arrested, although their identities remain undisclosed, similar to Qui’s. Following a thorough inquiry by law enforcement authorities, these three individuals were identified as active participants in the illicit activities.

According to Taiwan’s Money Laundering Control Act, they could face prison sentences of up to seven years, as well as fines of up to TWD1 million (US$30,770). Their court hearings are pending.


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